When I had the idea of doing this list, there was only ever going to be one choice for the first piece. Ever since my teens, the one piece of music that is guaranteed to lift my spirits is Bach’s Brandenburg concerto no.2 (BWV 1047). Its manic energy and the uplifting sound of the baroque trumpet always bring a smile to my face, so it was an obvious place to start my happiness playlist. It’s also the only concerto I know of where all the instruments I’ve learned to play (recorder, trumpet and oboe) feature as soloists – although the recorder part is the only one I can actually play!
A tightly constructed programme of music by Graźyna Bacewicz. Paul HIndemith and Dmitri Shostokovich reflects both the musical and political moods of the 1930s and 40s.